Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jun 13 01:05:57 UTC 2002

At 5:15 PM -0400 6/12/02, Bethany K. Dumas wrote:
>On Wed, 12 Jun 2002, FRITZ JUENGLING wrote:
>>Bethany, >are you suggesting that 'pre-paid' be substituted for
>'pre-purchased' or that 'pre-paid' is another goofy (unnecessary?) word,
>i.e. if you give money for something, you 'pay'-- no need to say 'pre-' ?
>I usually like shorter goofy words better than longer goofy words!

Of course you'd need a non-goofy little word to go with "pre-pay" as
opposed to "pre-purchase":  You could pre-purchase the yearbook or
pre-pay *for* the yearbook but not vice versa.  I think it might even
be argued that there's a subtle distinction between pre-purchasing an
item and pre-paying for it, parallel to the distinction between
purchasing it and paying for it.  If an item may or may not be in
stock or available, or if the purchase in other ways might be
unconsummated, you could pre-pay for it (and get your money refunded
later) but that wouldn't necessarily be a case of pre-purchasing it.
One context might be (pre-)paying for playoff or World Series tickets
for a team that gets eliminated the last day of the regular season.
Possibly that would also count as (pre-)purchasing them, but maybe
not for everyone; as J. L. Austin would have said, purchasing
something requires "uptake" but paying for something needn't.

plumping for the Bolinger Doctrine that every word should earn its keep

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